Guest Contributor – The Fat Man – Antifa, Sci Fi, The Bomb, Consumerism and The Death of Innovation – Part 3

Some Evidence

Some case studies of innovation begin with a scientific advance such as the identification of the photoelectric effect or other quantum phenomenon and traces its application to an invention dependent on that advance such as the laser. Other descriptions are more ethnographic, observing an industrial ecosystem, then focusing in on its niche like the Connecticut River Valley manufacturing industry of the 18th century and its development of interchangeable gun parts. More quantitative accounts begin with economic dynamics by measuring the role of capital, labor and then try to show excess growth attributed to changes in technology processes or investment.

All of these approaches seek to account for growth not related to easily measurable factors by looking at newly discovered insights or newly introduced technologies that confer some advantage to an offering competing in a market. Many of these accounts are useful in documenting the precedent conditions to productive change. They have been reduced to a list in many papers and articles on innovation and economic growth. They include access to basic research and related intellectual property, capital, talent, geographic or virtual proximity and so on. Other less concrete factors are also named such as entrepreneurism, leadership or vision. This body of literature is rapidly growing but the more that is written about innovation and the greater the attempts to reduce it to an economic model, the further the goal seems to move. The sudden drop in the total factor productivity in the US after the 1970s seems less understood the more that is written about it. Commentators, whether economist or philosophers, business leaders or politicians, have moved from qualitative analysis to social pleading yet offer no reliable, let alone predictable, hypothesis.

To some, the loss of American vitality is seen as an emergency, a surrendering or dissipation of the most valuable trend in human history. The loss of a cultural and economic heritage that transformed the world from a brutal place to a prosperous one. To others the change was the inevitable correction as resources were redistributed by political systems evolving away from their imperial structures of exploitation. Why do some students and proponents of innovation see it as somehow related to culture? Why do discussions of innovation seem to invite political explanations? At any level of analysis, it would seem innovation has almost nothing to do with politics and philosophy, rather a question of science, economics, and commerce. It is true that politics influence and at times determines investment in science and seek to manage economies, if not specific markets, but does that mean we can find the source of innovation in political processes?

The issue of what changed that precipitated the reduction in growth of the US economy and, apparently, innovation has a stock list of suspects. Government regulation is a commonly cited culprit. In the case of nuclear energy this seems irrefutable. Corporatism is another clear candidate. Anyone who carefully analyzes big company structures and processes, from their silo functions to their anti-competitive strategies and general slow-footedness knows that the landscape of a shrinking number of large companies dominating legacy industries can only be poison to innovation. It is hard to consider these and other familiar hypotheses that purport to account for the decrease in innovation, such as failed schools, family breakdown and the loss of faith, without turning away from the question in despair, even horror.

Perhaps it is better to start with a more direct examination of innovation in the past versus today. For example, the slowing of progress in individual transportation in the last fifty years. Why don’t cars fly? It is harder to make a car fly than roll so innovation today won’t look like innovation a century ago. This is the low hanging fruit explanation, flying is harder, but what does that mean? Well, making a car fly is not an incremental change from progressively making cars roll faster and more efficiently. In fact, making a car fly may not be an innovation at all. Innovation is not the invention of new things for their own sake. Innovation solves replication problems. What replication problem does a flying car solve? How much faster does individual transportation need to move over the earth’s surface than a mile a minute? And, for that matter, how much faster than a mile a second does flight need to achieve? The low hanging fruit explanation does seem to touch on something useful, but not in the ordinary sense of the barrier of increasing complexity. It also points to the question of need.

Commentators point to aging American cities with their 19th century subways and mid-20th century skyscrapers as evidence of our decline. (We might observe, as an aside, that no one ever complains about the age of buildings in Rome or Paris) They point to slower travel times, increasing real energy costs and shortening life expectancies in the same breath to demonstrate the drop in the pace of innovation. These seem alarming symptoms of our loss of progress. But are they really? How high does a building need to rise? How often should they be replaced? How many millions should a city accommodate? Subways certainly age, need to be maintained and improved, but should a civilization’s innovative energies be focused on subways? Surely this is not a problem of complexity, nor was the decision to abandon supersonic transport. These are choices that have little to do with innovation as normally discussed.

It is clear that in the postwar period, in different forms in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the rest of the developed world, much of these societies’ productive energy was focused on “social progress”. Some would call much of it, the changing role of women, concern for the environment, other post-imperial transitions like industrial nationalization and the rise of the welfare state, social engineering that at least in name might be considered innovation. These large reallocations of resources and dislocations of existing social structures undoubtedly had equally large effects on the focus of our productive energies, if not to derail them. For much of the industrial world social progress represented a deliberate regression away from the culture of Manhattan Projects and moon shots. Social progress led not to building more advanced cities but housing projects for the poor, which, in turn, led many to leave cities altogether. In America, the suburban “innovation”, born of the federal interstate highway program, made things cheaper, more convenient at first, and increased standards of living substantially for at least two decades. But it did not just increase the marginal quality of upper middle-class family existence by eventually sending most women into the workforce and expanded the average size of a suburban house and the number of cars in their driveways.  Living standards per capita measured in occupied square feet, miles driven, cost per student, ballooned in the 1970’s and 1980’s until even lower middle-class families living outside of cities occupied larger houses, drove further and spent more per student on education, even consumed more calories, than their counterparts in any other society. Was this not productive change?

Many would say no. Those social and economic changes may have been desired after the two wars and the prospect of global extinction, but they did not yield what innovation always does. Doing more with less, rather the opposite. Reallocation and baby booms might be products of innovation, but they do not bring it about. But the social and material changes in family structure and standards of living do suggest an answer to our question of why building and subway construction have not advanced. They didn’t need to, certainly not with the suburbanization of society and the massive expansion car culture.

There are parallels of this redirection of innovation in energy, in air transportation, even in medicine. A central concept to the development of new medical therapies is the idea of “unmet need”. Still at the dawn of the 20th century most people in the world died of gastric perforation. This mortality was directly tied to waterborne infections and contaminants so the unmet medical need for gastric disease was very high in the year 1900. Epidemiology showed not just mortality, but morbidity, other suffering than death such as poor nourishment, pain, and loss of work, were also caused by digestive disease. At first, slowly through the improvement of urban waste management and water treatment, and then more quickly after World War II through development of a series of pharmacotherapies such as antibiotics, then H-2 antagonists, PPI’s and finally triple antibiotic therapies, the medical unmet need for upper gastric disorders has largely been addressed.

This does not mean that no one suffers an upset stomach anymore. Prosperity and the overabundance of calories ensure that people still need digestive therapies. But as a public health priority, upper digestive disease has fallen from top to bottom. This is reflected in the demand for infrastructure professionals and new upper digestive pharmacotherapies that address digestive disease. Public engineering in the first half of the 20th century in America was a leading professional undertaking as the nation built its cities to postwar capacity. Those same H-2 antagonists and PPIs were the world’s largest selling and most lucrative drugs to treat aging patients born while H. Pylori, a water born pathogen, was prevalent. Today large-scale hydro-engineering projects occur at a small fraction of their former frequency and the gross sales of gastric pharmacotherapies and the innovative creation of new ones are comparatively tiny and few.

Is the contraction of PPI markets and the reduction of sewer treatment projects evidence of an innovation crisis or reduction in unmet need? Why has subway and high-rise construction investment fallen? In the 1920s as the New York City subway system was completed and was the envy of the world, the city had between 8 and 9 million residents that paid a billion fares per year. Those numbers are still largely the same today. Before the completion of most high-rise housing, New York City reached its steady state of population. By the 1970s and during the decades of the decline in US total factor productivity, national firms and their employees were abandoning New York City, raising vacancy rates. So why build and innovate more subways, buildings and their associated technologies? What was the unmet need? The answer is, there was none.

The only objection raised by these facts, that even the poor in the West have excessive basic resources in calories, in utilization of individual transport, spending on education and housing space, is that people are still poor and life for many is grim. But is this a problem of innovation, of productive growth? Would making energy free, as once imagined, or food free, as it nearly is in terms of minimum daily calories, make life less grim? The answer is no, with the sole exception of the extremely poor, defined by the World Bank as less than $1 dollar-a-day of income, a vanishingly small population in the US and one not attributable to jobless or homeless conditions but mental illness and drug addiction. There is no evidence that more square feet or more individual driving or more spending on education will meaningfully reduce the true unmet needs of lower income people. It may make car companies, energy companies, landlords and teacher unions richer but greater innovation in individual transportation, education, energy and food production will not reduce unmet needs in these areas because they are already so low. No amount of additional spending above the already impossibly high per student costs to simply teach a first grader to read will improve literacy rates. Even $100,000 per student per year would not improve the reading scores of the urban and rural poor. And if it did, such improvement would not be due to innovation, which we have defined as doing more with less. Rather, by reducing the scarcity of these resources, suburbanization has led to their inflated worthlessness. Cheap goods and services have led to the devaluing of them to the point of laxity. Is reflected in obesity rates, lowering test scores, falling birthrates, which for any other living system of organisms, would rise with expanding resources. That is until their own waste chokes them. This is the cradle of our heroes, The Muppets.

 

End of Part 3

Post Script

Ok, if necessity is actually the mother of innovation, lots of needs have been met in the last 100 years, but why did growth stop, the ASB becomes irrelevant and suburban consumerism take hold and become the millennial Muppet cradle sometime in the nineteen seventies? And what about Frank Sinatra? Stay tuned for Part 4.

Guest Contributor – The Fat Man – Antifa, Sci Fi, The Bomb, Consumerism and The Death of Innovation – Part 2

Guest Contributor – The Fat Man – Antifa, Sci Fi, The Bomb, Consumerism and The Death of Innovation – Part 1

 

Warning: Part 2 contains a philosophical discussion of innovation that is a bit dense. If you’re here for the comic jabs at “The Muppets”, you may want to skip to Part 3.  My apologies.

(Editor’s note: Because the author was so expansive, I have divided Part 2 into two parts.  So, what The Fat Man refers to as Part 3 will actually be called Part 4.

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The hypothesis I will posit and attempt to demonstrate in the next two parts of this humble correspondence has two main themes. First, that the America of the hundred to hundred and fifty-odd years ending in the nineteen seventies was in every way exceptional; second, that it was so because it had to be.

What gave birth to the ASB that catalyzed an array of naïve musical craft forms into a global cultural phenomenon? How could it be that slave and peasant musical traditions could be combined and transformed to such success? How did a string of still photographs projected on a screen go from peep show to a universal, dare we say, artistic medium? And how did both these forms descend into their own basements? Why even is the use of a phrase like “artistic medium” to be feared and derided?

What if the same dynamic could be identified as the driver behind the creation General Electric and The Bomb that obliterated those two Japanese cities. What if accounting for that dynamic could answer Peter Thiel’s most interesting questions, “Why are our cities strangely old?”..…”Why did the space program abandon Mars?”…..”Why does it take longer to travel between cities in 2020 than it did in 1970?” Put more simply, how can the America that stormed Normandy and called a moonshot in 1961 “by the end of the decade” with Ruthian certainty end up frightened by Antifa?

To answer all these questions, we first need a definition of innovation that helps to describe some common process to all the unlikely triumphs we have mentioned, from Louis Armstrong to Robert Oppenheimer. We need a definition that comprises economic trends reflected in metrics like the GDP, and the commercial success of mechanical innovations like the production of replaceable parts in firearms; cultural phenomena like the art movements that come to be described as “universal”, or the emergence of global capitals like New York in the mid-century.

 

What is innovation

Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Heisenberg. These names transcend words like discovery and invention. For human beings, the members of this class are, along with a few others seemingly from other fields, other names like Homer and Shakespeare perhaps Mozart or Beethoven, the ones that define our world. We don’t have to worry about their sins or similarities because they are like their creations, both real and unreal. There is no E in E equals MC squared in the real world, any more than the number one. E and one are exclusively human. There is no ideal realm where they reside outside of our minds. They are beyond the hills, the animal or mineral, shared only in the humanly conceived eternal. They are wholly ours and once invoked by anyone they join the patrimony that is accessible to all if we choose to claim it. We can choose, however, to lose treasures like F equals MA or “it is the east and Juliet is the sun” or Euler’s identity. We can forget or revise or misattribute or commit a hundred other crimes against history. We can break the chain of humanity that links all ages and places to every remembered and forgotten name with the new and the unborn. We can fail to imagine.

Lesser mortals do lesser things. They discover like Columbus or Curie; they invent like Edison and Bell. A lightbulb is not humanity but it helped humanity read. The telephone was not a part of us though they did at times seem attached. America is not Italy but someone had to sign the map. We remember these names and forget, revise, misattribute them at much less peril, perhaps some would say, at no peril at all, perhaps, even to our benefit. But the status of the names of our discoverers and inventors matter today if not tomorrow. We need them today to tell our story, even our history, but they are not immutable giants like the others. Because we all know who gets to write history, the stories beneath these names can change from discoverers today to slavers tomorrow.

Far below the Olympian pantheon of Newton and the discoverer’s Rushmore of Edison, in a stratum of the day to day, lives innovation. It has no name but certainly is more fun. Discovery finds things and invention makes things but innovation gets to do things. And nameless, it is free to beg and borrow, not caring who found it or made it so long as it can use it. Innovation is the doing with what was discovered, invented, invested, neglected or just plain forgotten.

Innovation has no name, or at least it shouldn’t. The artifacts of innovation are not important, but their impact is. What is a subway or a skyscraper? Who would care except that they move infinitely more people faster in a crowded city than any combination of horse and car or fit infinitely more people to live and work on a half-acre than possible in any other urban plan? But innovation does not only serve the visceral. The long line of innovations that culminated in the gothic cathedral are nameless. But at some point, in the 11th or 12th Century, they lifted whole societies to spiritual consensus. Yet there is no name associated with the Gothic Cathedral except Chartres, Cologne or Notre Dame. In fact, subways, skyscrapers, cathedrals, choirs or even particular iPhones change as we use them and disappear when we don’t. Innovation doesn’t have his fun alone, we get to join in.

In the sense that innovation is not discovery or invention we can also say that it is not exclusively human. Because it is nameless is also, to the extent it is distinct, not aware. Innovators manage the details of their initiatives and even at times claim to plan their applications. But no one ever knows when they cross the boundary between an improvement or invention or discovery and true innovation. So as anyone who has ever seen the cat finally achieve the canary knows, animals innovate as well. Nor does one individual even ever really innovate. Beyond the clichés about standing on the shoulders of giants, innovation relies primarily on feedback loops whether from a market or a metabolism. And beyond animals, all biological systems possess in their ontogeny the mechanisms of not just change but proliferative innovation. From this perspective, no doubt, it is conceivable that by their ability to determine natural existence, the laws of physics in their constants and relations and limits do as well. Or at least one could probably find a business-minded physicist to agree. So, it is also cliché to say innovation is collaborative or diverse or possessing of secret ingredients, let alone genius. Innovation emanates as all phenomena do, that is to say, through itself.

This view of innovation is useful in a number of ways. It avoids the sociology of science associated with the Olympian creations that began our discussion. Newton’s human creations like numbers and letters truly are human constructs, artifacts. Concentrated matter moving through space is no artifact. The novel phosphorylation of a bioactive molecule that confers a replication advantage is a fact, observable, unaware, unstoppable. Humans can only participate in innovation; they cannot originate it. We are lucky when we properly observe it.

If innovation is not human then it must be free from the requirements of human logic. Innovation is not consistent or moral or balanced or meaningful beyond the very next step. Innovation is productive change and with that single modifier, alone it is unconstrained in ways no human system can be. It can comprise blitzkrieg and washing machines. It moves along paths that cross all boundaries and all borders. It can change its products, landscapes and even man-made literary forms. Innovation is free to impinge on domains that are aware and self-constrained without being so itself.

All we have said so far describes what innovation is not and qualities of its nature. But what is innovation? Economists define innovation as the translation of an idea or invention into a good or product that creates value as reflected in the customer’s willingness to pay for it. So, innovation in this context is the occurrence of a new offering to generate sales. But innovation is also a larger concept usually best measured by the economic idea of dynamism. Dynamism is defined as the creative destruction in an economy that reallocates resources across firms and industries according to their most productive use. Presumably this destruction can at least in part be bottom up, unplanned or subject only to market guidance.

In its broadest sense, as we have discussed it so far, we might simply define innovation as productive change. Change that moves in a self-defined positive direction. A successful virus is essentially a protein shell with an innovation factory coded into its genetic material. Its sole function is to continually make slightly inexact copies of itself so to ensure that some of its related progeny can survive the immune systems that act as it’s feedback loop. To that virus this is productive change or innovation.

So, when is change productive or destruction creative? The laws of physics and biology seem to imply these are oxymorons? Science holds that all change is random, certainly all destruction must be, so how then can it be productive and creative? Does not its anonymity and randomness exclude any notion of “positive”? The answer must be no, but only because reconciling these seeming contradictions leads directly to the question of intentionality and the origin of change. The origin of change is itself a question of first causes that, as we have said, is immanent yet unbounded by space and time. Even a physicist would agree that the universe is productive because of primal conditions whose own origins are inexplicable, partially observable, even describable, perhaps, but ultimately unaccountable. But where does the ineffability of productive change lead us in our search for its nature? It frees us. Clearly productive change exists as do distinct stars that convert matter to energy and men who turn forests to farms, so we are free to inquire and observe without accounting for first causes. In our investigation, we also can be dynamic along with others in our niche and join in the reallocation. But as human logical commentators, at least, we are obliged to make observations that suggest relationships, if not lessons.

So much for the ultimate source of change, what about proximate causes? What about their number and weight? This is not obvious yet it is the main business of our discussion. And although economics would seem to be the obvious framework to account for the proximate cause of innovation, those most familiar with that exercise commonly offer only very subjective, sometimes poetical explanations of even large changes in innovative trends. The great economist of innovation, Edmund Phelps, cites the loss of the “spirit of adventure and discovery” as chief among the proximate causes of the halving of the 3% annual growth in US GDP he attributes to American innovation going back two centuries before the 1970s. To understand the proximate causes of the end of American innovation in the 1970’s, we must first understand its proximate causes going back at least those two centuries and likely much earlier.

In Praise of Civic Nationalism (At Least My Version Any Way)

Among the Dissident Right, the CivNats (as they call them) are almost an epithet.  Maybe not as despised as the NeoCons or the Libertarians but close behind.  And in a way I see their point.  The Civic Nationalists have allowed themselves to be gaslit by the Uniparty for the last fifty years.  For pointing this out to me I will always be indebted to these merchants of hate.  But as incisive as their thoughts are regarding the details of how the Uniparty uses identity politics against the white people of America I can’t come around to their idea that every ethnic and racial group is bound to face off against each other over the carcass of the United States of America.  To my way of thinking, that would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I am not a descendant of the Mayflower pilgrims.  And my people weren’t born within a thousand miles of England.  Other than possible sentry duty on Hadrian’s Wall during the early centuries of the Christian era all of my people had spent their time in southern Italy for as far back as our family tree can show.  But I don’t think any Standishes or Bradfords were ever brought up more patriotically American than my family was.  And having grown up in New York City I met many immigrants who came to this country with the sole object of making their children as proudly American as was humanly possible.  And this was in a city where the various ethnic groups treated each other with all the fondness that the various groups in Beirut currently do (well, short of RPG fire anyway).

I once met a man on the subway who had fled from China by swimming across the bay to Hong Kong.  He and his two brothers attempted it together.  One brother was dragged back, the other brother drowned.  But this man made it.  When he found out that Hong Kong would revert to China one day he decided to come to America.  He was a lower working-class fellow but he invited me to his apartment for dinner.  When he told me how he taught his children to revere America as the greatest country in the world because of its freedom and justice he sounded like a Frank Capra movie.  I was amazed.  This was back in the mid-eighties and New York had become a crime ridden hellhole with racial animosity at the boiling point.  But here was this man who could barely speak English and struggling to make ends meet speaking with an almost religious fervor about his adopted country.  It was kind of inspiring.  To me it was a kindred spirit to how my family was raised. We believed that myth.

Now here we are in 2020.  Antifa are the children of the Mayflower descendants, the top of the heap, and they don’t believe the myth.  To them America is a hate filled racist death camp.  Then you have BLM.  They are the descendants of the black slaves, the bottom of the heap, and they believe the same thing.  So that just leaves us, the middle of the heap.  Some of us still believe.  And I know the myth can work because I’ve seen it.  But it only works for those who don’t want to destroy what’s here.  My grandparents didn’t have a dream of turning America into Naples or anywhere else in Italy.  That Chinese fellow didn’t want to resurrect Canton here.  He wanted his children to speak English and watch the Mets play baseball on channel 9.  My ancestors didn’t get here until long after the Civil War but I have no desire to pull down statues of confederate soldiers or Founding Fathers.  That’s as bad as the Nazis burning books on relativistic physics just because Einstein was Jewish.  This country has a history.  It includes acts of great bravery and acts of down right cowardice.  There has been burning hatred and great compassion.  But that history is real.  Revisionists are retelling it from one point of view and want nothing else to remain.  But I’ll have none of that.

So, here’s my version of civic nationalism.  If your idea of America is that it is a terrible place founded by evil white people who need to expiate the sins of their fathers copiously and endlessly, then you’re not an American.  Even if you are Thomas Jefferson’s multi-great-grandson, you aren’t an American.  You’re nothing.  But if you believe that with all its warts and all its mistakes that the United States of America is the single greatest experiment in human governance since Adam and Eve were given the Garden then you are an American and my brother.  I don’t particularly care if you are white, black, red, brown, yellow or even green.  As long as you stand for the Star-Spangled Banner, Pledge Allegiance with your hand over your heart and love this country for what it has always been, then you’re an American.  The main thing is you believe in the Bill of Rights and the rule of law.  Don’t try to take away our guns just because your old country didn’t have them.  Don’t try to stop people from speaking their minds just because it might hurt someone’s feelings.  Don’t expect us to suspend our immigration laws just so a few more of your cousins can jump the border.  Don’t try to erase our history or inflict guilt on us for being successful.  Speak English and bring your children up to love this country and its history.  And whatever you do don’t have anything to do with antifa, BLM or the Democrat party.  They’re all Marxists.  It would help if you like baseball instead of soccer or cricket but that is a minor thing.

So that is the coalition I want, true believers.  But I won’t include anyone in who kowtows to the thugs who hate America.  You’re either proud of this country or you’re just a freeloader looking to tear off a piece of its wealth.  I’m guessing there are still millions of us.  And having a common point of view gives us an identity and orients us politically and culturally.  And that’s the only use of the words identity and orientation I’ll ever need.

The Paradox of Western Civilization

To anybody who came of age in America before, let’s say 1990, it’s always maddening to hear the views of Millennials on the subject of Western History.  They are completely convinced that the world would have been a paradise if only the evil Europeans hadn’t interfered with all the good people everywhere else.  So, because the settlers dispossessed the Indians and used slave labor for agriculture and used the advanced weapons and tactics that they invented to conquer the whole world this must mean that the Europeans were morally inferior to the peoples they defeated.  The fact that history and archeology show that humans everywhere and at all times have waged war against their neighbors and made slaves of their defeated rivals is as clear and understandable as any other law of nature.  The Khans of Mongolia conquered most of Eurasia and committed atrocities that rival anything that Hitler or Stalin committed.  Empires in India, the Middle East and Meso-America conquered and enslaved their neighbors whenever the opportunity arose.  The tribes and nations of Sub-Saharan Africa even in modern times have committed genocidal attacks on their enemies that have stunned outsiders by their cruelty.  Man has been a terrifying enemy to his neighbors for as long as he has existed.  In fact, it is ignored that the English were the ones who ended slavery inside their vast empire in the nineteenth century with the United States following their example shortly after.  It was Europeans (the Swiss and the English and their descendants) who first resurrected democracy after a lapse of thousands of years since the end of the first attempts back in ancient Athens.  And with respect to women’s rights, England and the United States, once again, were in the vanguard of that movement.

But none of this registers with Millennials.  They’ve been proselytized and brow-beaten by their teachers from kindergarten to graduate school and beyond to acknowledge the hereditary guilt of belonging to a civilization that virtually alone has created the modern world that everyone lives in.  And to atone for the “sins” of their ancestors they desire to hand over the country to anyone who desires to come here to live.  They think it would be better if America belonged to the world.  “After all,” they think, “we stole it from someone else, we should give it back.”

What they’re too blind to realize is that if they indeed gave it to the world, it soon wouldn’t be a place that the world would want to live in.  It is true that many people come to America to get free stuff.  They see a gravy train and figure on getting as much of what is being handed out for as long as it’s available.  They typically send the money they get back home to their families and intend to return when it gets to be a big enough nest egg.  But there have always been people who come to America because they’ve heard that things are done right here.  If you live in a country where the local strongman can take your property or even abuse your family with impunity then it doesn’t matter if you are relatively well off.  A lawless society is a violent and chaotic place where only the strongest survive and even they know a stronger man will eventually come along to supplant them.  Whether it was German peasants fleeing religious wars or Southern Italians fleeing poverty and the cruel intimidation of the Mafia people came to the United States because for the most part the middle class here were able to negotiate a sane existence where their children could live a decent life and maybe even better themselves over time.

But as the older population knows, every time a new wave of immigrants arrives and crowds the slums of the old cities, it creates crime and poverty and resentment between the older inhabitants and the new immigrants.  At that point, in the past, immigration is halted.  Then it takes fifty years for the new immigrants to assimilate and blend into the American way of life.  And normal life resumes for the bulk of the inhabitants.

But if the Millennials (and the Democrat leadership and the corporations who need cheap labor) have their way, then there will be no halt to the influx of immigrants.  Eventually we will reach a tipping point where the new arrivals will swamp out the cultural Americans and it won’t be America anymore.  Once enough people will sell their vote for some short-term economic benefit, all the things that made the United States unique, things like the Bill of Rights, will be legislated away and we will live in the same lawless jungle that all those who came here fled from.

It took almost two thousand years between Ancient Athens and Modern Europe for democracy to reappear.  If it disappears here, it may take that long for it to reappear.  We must do what we can to stop this stupid idea that everyone can move to America.

And it’s unnecessary.  The whole world knows what a working civilization looks like.  It was the civilization that flourished in Europe during the industrial revolution.  It was when man used science and intelligence to improve the way he lived.  This can be copied and adapted to the local conditions.  It won’t be like America but it will be better than the tribal life that preceded modernity.  We don’t need to let everyone come here.  We don’t even have to enforce our standards on these more backward countries.  But we can insist that if they want to have any interaction with us that they must maintain some reasonable standards of behavior to allow that interaction to be acceptable to us.  We can make common cause with countries that have the same aspirations as us.  Those that don’t we can ignore.  But we don’t owe even friendly nations the right to flood our country and disrupt our way of life.

So, to hell with the Millennials and their idiot teachers.  This is our way of life here and we don’t want to lose it.

President Trump in the Arena

In 2018 and 2019 I posted Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech as one of my quotes of the day.  Here it is:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

I thought of this quote when all the usual suspects started criticizing the President for his courageous decision to eliminate General Soleimani.  Chuck Schumer criticized the President for not consulting Congress.  The stupidity of this argument being that Congress is a sieve of destructive leaks and passing along this information might have compromised the mission and even led to intelligence personnel being captured or killed.

Then you have that nitwit Pelosi claiming that Soleimani was such an important Iranian that killing him was unthinkable.  So, the man who personally arranged for the killing and maiming of thousands of American servicemen and who was currently looking to increase that score shouldn’t be eliminated because his work was too important.  I know of nothing more idiotic said by a top US political leader since Pelosi’s last blunder where she claimed that we had to institute Obamacare before we knew what it included.  She is indeed a dope for all seasons.

And all the talking heads of the networks working overtime to frighten the American public with propaganda about American deaths from the missile barrage and declaring that killing Soleimani was an unthinkable tactical blunder that we would all rue.

All of these naysayers are the critics of Roosevelt’s speech.  Bystanders sniping at the Man in the Arena.  But President Trump is that man.  In a situation like the current United States deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan there is no safe or easy choice.  Every day is fraught with peril and every decision must be weighed.

With the Iranians looking to distract their citizens from their poverty the mullahs used Soleimani to generate good news by attacking their enemies through proxies in other places like Iraq and Syria.  And with the knowledge that President Trump wants to withdraw US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and place them in secure bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait it would be easy for the Iranians to claim a victory if they attacked our vacating troops.  They would spin it that they chased us out.

If the President does intend to redeploy our troops away from Iraq and Afghanistan it would be preferable to accompany such a change with a show of strength to remind the hostile (and friendly) nations in the area that American military strength isn’t something to be despised.

To that end killing Soleimani just as he was ramping up attacks on Americans in Iraq was a high risk, high reward option.  Killing him in such a situation demonstrated our operational intelligence capability, technological superiority and the high regard our President has for the safety of our troops.  He would show that the death of an American contractor in Iraq needed to be avenged with the killing of the man who was ultimately responsible for that death.  And no consideration was given to the rank of either man.

But of course, consideration was given to what the retaliation by the Iranians could have been.  Getting into a major war with a regional power like Iran is a very serious situation.  Such a war would be a horrible problem for an election effort and would throw the advantage to the Democrats in November.

And that risk means that ordering the attack on Soleimani was a very risky decision that called for the most careful exercise of judgement.  None of the other men who served as President in the last thirty years, neither of the Bushes or Clinton or Obama would have taken that risk under the present circumstances.  They would have hunkered down and endured the slow drip of casualties and then withdrawn our troops under fire.  President Trump showed a fine sense of tactical judgement and he has been rewarded by circumstances that put him in a strong strategic position with respect to Iran.  The Man in the Arena deserves praise and recognition for his wisdom and courage.

Reflections on the Political Landscape

A while back I put Colin Woodward’s book, “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America,” in my wish list based on the Z-Man’s description of its importance.  I’m about twenty percent into it and I’ve got an idea of where it is going.  I also can tell that Woodward is a thorough going lefty but that there is a lot of useful information in the book.  The beginning of the book describes the origins of the various “nations” that he contends still underly the current political and cultural reality of the United States and its surroundings in North America.

As I said, there is a lot of slant to his description of the character of the various populations and you can tell where his sympathies lie and who he is virtue signaling to but there is also valuable information that actually helps to explain some general behaviors that can be observed at work today.

For example, Woodward waxes poetic about the New England characteristic of local autonomy and small-town democracy.  This is presented as a contrast to the feudal rule of aristocratic Virginia where great landowners lorded it over the common men and monopolized the government and the courts.  Supposedly this is still the reality today.  But anyone living in New England knows that any community that imposed any policies out of synch with the smothering regulation existing at the state level would be assaulted with the full force of the state’s judicial and administrative might and quickly the offenders would find themselves in prison and their families dispossessed and harassed out of the state.

One of the features of New England was its early adoption of universal education and the establishment of higher education as the basis of elite status.  This is also touted as a democratic virtue as opposed to the wealth-based basis of education in Virginia.  Looking at the present day it’s instructive to see that the educational situation is much changed.  The educational state of the poor even in New England has degraded to the point where claiming universal education is very debatable.  And the status of higher education has likewise changed to the point where elite status is more of a legacy condition than any kind of meritocratic status.  In other words, the state and poorer colleges have been degraded to where their degrees are approaching a worthless status whereas the high-status Ivy League schools are the domain of elite families and the affirmative action minorities that they include for the sake of appearances.

What seem to be happening is that the supposed egalitarian impulses of the New England nation and their descendants in the other Left dominated areas of the country have abandoned the pretense of equality and now embrace the model of an elect elite directing the lives of the rest of society as some sort of latter-day serfdom.  This conforms more closely to the Marxist model than any puritan world view.  And this of course makes sense.  As the New Englanders shed their Christianity, they reached out for what replaced it in their environment, the fashionable socialism of nineteenth century intellectuals.

I’ll have a full review at some point and other discussions of the ideas and the applications of these ideas to the present condition we find ourselves in.  Z-Man was right. There is useful information in this book overlaid with leftist smugness.

How I Got Here

I was born in 1957.  My father and uncles fought in World War II and the Korean War.  I was raised to believe that Americans were the good guys.  And then Walter Cronkite and John Kerry said we were the bad guys in Vietnam.  A few years later Lyndon Johnson told us we were racists.  A decade later Jimmy Carter told us to let the enemies of the United States do as they pleased because we had sinned against them.  And every day the Media and the Left did everything they could to tear down our country and our spirit.  We had stagflation (stagnant economy and 20% inflation), the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Carter Malaise.  That was a low point.

And then a miracle happened.  Ronald Reagan told us we weren’t the problem and that we really were the good guys.  And it was like a cloud drifted past and the sun was shining on us again.  And like magic, everything got better.  And Americans were proud and happy again.  And even the lousy leftists seem to remember they were Americans a little and it was morning in America again.

And George H. W. Bush said it was his turn to be President and he had learned his lesson and he would be just like Reagan only smarter and kinder.  And we wanted to believe him and compared to Mike Dukakis he could have been John Wayne.  So he got his turn.  And we got a New World Order complete with higher taxes, NAFTA, shuttered factories, high unemployment, recession and Middle East War.

And that got us Bill Clinton and Hillary, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Monica, Dot Com Bubble, Al Gore, more shuttered factories, Chinese trade imbalance and moral rot.

Everything was a muddle and a mess.  When George W Bush said he was a Christian Conservative from Texas we hoped that he would right the ship.  Avoiding Al Gore seemed like dodging a huge bullet.  We hoped that we could start to repair some of the damage from his father and the Clintons.  And the 9-11 happened.  And that was like a punch to the throat.  And W did a lot of things right.  He joined the country in a crusade to crush Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  And the young men of that generation answered the call and went to Afghanistan and crushed our enemies.  And there was hope that we could subdue the Muslim extremists and end the Middle Eastern threats once and for all.  But a unfunny thing happened.  W had his own vision of a New world Order.  And it involved draining off the blood and treasure of our country to turn the Middle East into Kansas.  And he squandered both of those precious commodities until there was nothing left.  And when he was finished Iraq wasn’t Kansas and the Democrats took the Congress and the Presidency.  All W accomplished was killing and maiming a generation of young Americans, bankrupting the country and making Barack Hussein Obama president.

Obama’s presidency was like a foreign occupation.  It was hard to decide which was worse, the injury or the insult.  He took every opportunity to belittle and shame Americans and he did whatever damage he could do.  Permanent double digit unemployment and wage stagnation had robbed a generation of the American dream and beggared their parents.  Obamacare was the biggest legislative victory he scored against us but it also seemed to galvanize the country against him.  The worst damage he did was the BLM activism that he aided and abetted.  The other mischief he sponsored was spreading alien refugees wherever he could.  And one other thing that he got behind was the whole gay marriage, transgender movement.  He discovered that he had “evolved” to recognize a constitutional right to gay marriage and this dove-tailed with the lunacy that drove Justice Anthony Kennedy to inflict a Supreme Court decision forcing another insane assault on the American family.

And so, in 2015 we had hit bottom.  It didn’t seem that anything could be done to save America from poverty and degradation.  Our choices, such as they were, were Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Jeb! Bush.  And we all knew neither of those two could beat Hillary.  After all Bernie was supposed to lose and the super delegate system would make sure of that.  Jeb was much too much of a gentleman to consider doing anything more than weakly protest at the unfair campaign attacks that Hillary’s machine would unleash and then good naturedly concede defeat.  And when Antonin Scalia died suddenly during the election year it seemed as if nothing could save us from the dismantling of the First and second Amendments.  This truly was the political low point of my entire life.

And then a miracle happened.  Donald J. Trump.  It seemed utterly impossible.  But there were some voices that I followed who said he was the answer and our last hope.  And interestingly they were on the Alt-Right (one specifically, Vox Day).

And they were right.

So twice in my adult life a leader has emerged who everyone said was crazy.  And they said he was wrong and would cause disaster and maybe nuclear war.  And both times he was the right man at the right time.  And just as with Reagan it’s as if a cloud has drifted out of the way and the sun is shining down on us bright and warm.

And this is what I’ve learned.  Don’t trust the elites, especially Republicans.  Not in the Media, not in Academia, not in Industry and not in Washington.  Don’t be mistaken into thinking that the Left are Americans even if they themselves are convinced they are.  They’re not, they’re globalists.  America is just an inconvenient stepping stone on the way to the global hive.  Don’t trust anyone who has been in politics for his whole life and for pity’s sake don’t make him VP.  Look for a courageous and confident leader who knows what the story is.  Look for someone who is unafraid to speak the painful truth and hurt powerful people’s feelings.  Look for someone who understands how the whole dirty business works and can’t be bought off.  Look for someone who isn’t ashamed to be an American.  And then back him to the Gates of Hell.  We may still end up crushed by the Left.  But at least we’ll know it is happening and we won’t be fooled again.

And remember, we got Reagan and Trump but there won’t be a third miracle, three strikes and you’re out.

Good Things Come To Those That Fight

A friend of mine at work who follows President Trump on Twitter alerted me that SCOTUS had struck down the Lower Court ruling against the Muslim Travel Ban.  https://apnews.com/3a20abe305bd4c989116f82bf535393b/Court-upholds-Trump-travel-ban,-rejects-discrimination-claim

My immediate thought was, finally!  And that is the beauty of Donald Trump, he’s indefatigable.  They attack and delay and obfuscate and he just keeps coming back to his purpose.  And this must be the first man with a backbone and a work ethic to inhabit the White House since the 1980s.  Hallelujah!  So Gorsuch continues to pay off and in a few days we’ll see whether we also have to wait for Kennedy to go away.  He has been moderating his extreme left-wing social biases in the last couple of decisions but I’d feel a lot better if he were about to call it a career.  And what a relief it is to have someone who understands politics and how to sell a plan and how to strong arm the mindless boobs that make up the majority of the Republican Congressional Delegation.  Since the President’s poll numbers have continued to rise the spineless congress critters have begun to take heart and maybe even start acting like the dominant party that their numbers represent.  Of course it’s too much to ask for them to understand what their own constituencies are shouting to them from the rooftops, “Stop the Illegals!, Build the Wall!”  That would be beyond their barely reptilian brains.  But maybe they can be taught to trust their party’s leader once he has shown them what winning looks like.

 

But I digress.  My point is that with someone running the ship, someone who isn’t a feckless dilettante without any concern for the people he’s supposed to be leading, actual progress on the right wing agenda can be made and, in fact, quite rapidly.  You just have to keep up the pressure and keep fighting back.  And I predict that once some real damage gets done to their agenda, the leftists will start to deflate and even the media will begin to lose heart.  These are not strong people, they are herd creatures and once they get stampeded it’ll be every roach for himself.  And that brings me to the Mueller – Sessions situation.  Something is going on there under the surface that must be something like an arm wrestling contest.  On the surface there seems to be no motion, nothing going on, but what is occurring is a dynamic tension that can’t last.  I predict that President Trump is positioning his forces there to allow both sides to retreat from the field of battle without a decisive event.  Basically there must be a mutually assured destruction in place and once both sides figure out how to retreat they will.

 

So that’s my read.  Trump is banging away at this agenda of things and every once in a while he makes enough progress against the concerted forces of the media and the swamp to declare victory and plant his flag on some hard fought hill.  And they call that bragging.  I’d call them rallying cries to the troops.  Well done Mr. President.